What Can Happen If I Drive in New Mexico Without Car Insurance?

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All motorists within New Mexico who want to legally operate an automobile must first purchase a coverage plan that satisfies the state's financial responsibility requirements. A driver who fails to do so may be subject to not only expensive medical or property damages after an accident but also various legal consequences.

In the event that a motorist is caught with an insufficient amount of coverage or no coverage at all, he or she is subject to a fine of up to $300. In addition, law enforcement officers who cite such individuals are required to issue a temporary operation sticker for the vehicle and must remove its license plate. The plate will only be returned after the owner has provided the state with proof that he or she has a valid policy for the car and has paid a $25 fee. The fee is waived if proof of insurance is provided within 15 days of the citation.

In an effort to thwart the estimated 26 percent of drivers in the state who lack a New Mexico auto insurance policy from hitting the road uncovered, NM requires proof of financial responsibility for registration and re-registration of autos, and the government has created a system in which the validity of a motorist's vehicle protection plan can be quickly referenced and updated.

All insurers must electronically submit any policy information to the New Mexico Insurance Identification Database (IIDB), where records can be easily accessed and checked. This database is typically examined by law enforcement officers, state agencies, as well as courts in order to check if individuals have met the state's financial responsibility requirements.

When a policy in the state is canceled or terminated, insurers are supposed to update this information in the database. After state authorities are notified of a cancellation or termination, they will send a notice to the vehicle owner requiring him or her to provide proof of coverage. If it is not provided within 20 days, the vehicle will be considered uninsured, and its registration will be suspended.

In the event that a vehicle owner has been informed that they are uninsured despite his or her being covered, the notice may be the result of an error within the database. Drivers are encouraged to double-check that the vehicle identification number listed on their policy matches that of the automobile in order to avoid any potential mistakes.

New Mexico bannerTo avoid these consequences and remain financially prepared for any damages resulting from an automobile accident, residents are urged to consider searching through car insurance quotes online and to locate an affordable plan that meets state minimum requirements. Taking into account the number of uninsured drivers within New Mexico, residents may also want to consider purchasing uninsured motorist protection in order to safeguard against possible accidents involving uninsured or underinsured drivers.